When you work on an excavation crew, you may think you job is as simple is performing basic excavation work to roadways and construction sites. However, the discovery of strange items can sometimes halt your progress. In fact, uncovering strange artifacts is not as uncommon as you might think. Fortunately, if you and your crew discover questionable items, there are a few things you can do to handle the situation properly.
Addressing Unexpected Remains
The Scenario: In the earlier part of March, 2015, an excavation crew had an unpleasant surprise when they uncovered a human skull. The crew had been working in Lake Louisvilla in Louisville, KY. The excavation crew had been working to install sewer lines for homes developed by Habitat for Humanity when they made the discovery. The crew immediately contacted the local Louisville Metro Police for help.
The Solution: The excavation crew handled the situation correctly. If you are part of a crew and you happen to discover human remains, halt the excavation process immediately, contact your supervisor, and immediately report your findings to the local police. Police officers will have to investigate the scene to determine if a crime took place before you can continue the construction process.
Handling a Mass Discovery
The Scenario: In June, 2014, an excavation also unearthed human remains. However, what made their discovery far different was the fact that the remains were part of a 19th century cemetery. The excavation crew had been working to dig up land for the placement of a new Ikea store when they made their discovery.
Initially, the crew contacted the local police department. Local police quickly determined that there was no foul play and the remains were then directed to the local cemetery. Cemetery workers transported the remains to a nearby cemetery for proper reburial.
The Solution: Uncovering several human remains is the last thing any excavation worker expects, but it is not an impossible discovery. As with any human remains found during an excavation, your first step is to contact the local police department. If it is determined that the remains are part of a cemetery, your next move it to get in touch with cemeteries in the area.
The remains will have to be carefully extracted and moved to a new location, which will allow the excavation process to continue. Be mindful of any further remains as you continue with the excavation process. For the safety of other members of your crew, make sure that you halt the excavation process until you are given the green light to continue from local law enforcement and regulatory offices.
Taking Care of Abnormal Discoveries
The Scenario: For a real "whale of a tale," all one has to do is refer to the discovery of whale bones found in February, 2013 by road excavators in Laguna Canyon, CA, or perhaps the whale bones found by excavators working to install Vermont's rail bed in 1849.
The incident in California included the discovery of 11 different species of whales, 4 of which were unidentified species. In fact, the newly discovered species of whale had teeth! The whale bones discovered in Vermont were that of one whale. A 20-foot whale to be exact. The whale, which was nicknamed Charlotte, was turned over to geologists for examination.
The Solution: If you happen to uncover any odd discoveries such as the remains of an unidentified species, contact a geologist for help. A geologist will have to run tests to identify the species of animal to which the bones belong. Keep in mind that you will have to halt your excavation process so as not to damage the remains.
Another piece of advice is to contact museum directors, particularly if you have an ancient find on your hands. Charlotte's remains were approximately 11,000 years old, which may interest any curator into putting the bones on display.
Of course, the life of excavating contractors is not always filled with such odd, yet unique finds. However, should you find yourself in such a peculiar situation, the tips above will allow you to handle the situation in a proper and professional manner.Share